To achieve the state of yoga is to achieve an experience of connection and unity. It’s an experience of what’s called non-dual awareness — connecting with something that has no opposite and no polarity.
The result of achieving this awareness is an experience of connection to a higher reality — the essence of all things. The Bhagavad Gita teaches that this experience of connection to non-dual awareness and connection to the essence of everything and all that is is the way to free oneself of all pain and suffering. Ultimately, yoga is this freedom from pain.
Freeing Yourself from Suffering
In yoga, the source of our suffering in life is known as dukkha. It’s a sense of feeling separated. It’s the distinction between me as a subject and the other as an object. This sense of separation, which we may or may not be aware of, is said to be the source of all pain and suffering.
That said, the aim of yoga is to free ourselves from the perception of distinction between subject and object. We can do this by practicing the following meditation:
A Meditation for Non-Dual Awareness
Wherever you are, take a moment to become aware of your self. See yourself as a subject. Place your attention on what you’re thinking and feeling in this moment. Be aware of what your current experience feels like.
Now shift your attention to become aware of someone else — perhaps there’s someone in your house with you. Take note of what this person looks like. Pay attention to what this person is wearing — the sound of their voice, the actions that they may or may not be doing. This person is the object of your attention.
Now begin to shift your focus back and forth between yourself and the person in your house. Just play with this shift of attention from subject to object, and object to subject. Get in touch once again with what you’re thinking, seeing, feeling, experiencing — and then bring your awareness back to the object.
Now, place your awareness on the space between subject and object. Focus your gaze and attention upon this space. See if you can sense that something is present in this space. The yoga tradition would call this space the real you, the higher reality, the great consciousness.
This space, or consciousness between subject and object is the absolute reality. It’s the real you. We can practice always being mindful of this space — in everything we do. We can make sure our subjective lives and experiences never overshadow the intelligence of this space or consciousness.
Over and over again, practice bringing your attention from subject to object and to the space in between. Rest in this space and realize this intelligence is the real you. Return to this space to find your yoga, your freedom, over and over again.
Did you try this meditation? How did it work for you? Share your results with us in the comments below!